An economical transportation option to see more of Puerto Rico…
If you wish to venture out of San Juan to see more wonders of Puerto Rico; want to save money on flights to other cities or islands of Puerto Rico; and don’t want to rent a car and navigate around the island yourself…there is another option. You can travel outside of the greater San Juan tourism and metro areas to other parts of the main island of Puerto Rico by using the “mass transit” (DTOP) Public Car System – Carros Públicos.
Publicos are typically well-maintained, spacious, comfortable, white or black vans that can accommodate 12-15 passengers and luggage. Smaller town cars are used as well. They have set rates that are controlled by the DTOP. A typical ride to another part of the island will cost $25-$30 and take 2-4 hours. Their rates are much less than taxis. The public car system is the most used and economical form of transportation outside of the San Juan metro area taxi, bus, and train (Tren Urbano) service areas.
Typically, públicos congregate near San Juan International Airport Terminal A, the Old San Juan cruise piers, and main plazas / squares in most Puerto Rico towns. From San Juan, you can also take a taxi from your hotel and simply tell the driver to take you to the Terminal de Carros Públicos de Rio Piedras – the main Public Car Terminal in Rio Piedras, San Juan (map location shown below). There you will find plenty of drivers and vehicles to drive you to other parts of the island. You simply approach a driver and tell him where you want to go. You may have to wait a bit as the drivers try to fill the vehicles with more passengers. Be prepared to make stops for other passengers as well. It is by no means the fastest way to get around Puerto Rico, but comfortable and affordable.
Publico transportation is often used to travel to the town of Fajardo on the northeastern coast, where you can ride a ferry to the beautiful offshore Puerto Rican islands of Culebra and Vieques – an economical alternative to flying to the islands. The beaches of Rincon on the west coast is also a popular destination.
It is viable alternative to hiring a more expensive tour guide for traveling to Puerto Rico attractions and activities outside of San Juan or to go golfing in the nearby towns of Dorado, Rio Grande, and Fajardo. They know where they are going, so you don’t have to worry about reading a map or using a GPS if you rent a vehicle.
- Available Monday – Saturday, no service on Sundays
- Cash only accepted
- Patience required to wait for vehicles to fill up and make multiple stops
- DTOP website – Puerto Rico Department of Public Transportation
- Regulatory Office of Public Vehicles – (787) 294-2412
Map of Where to Find Publicos in San Juan, Puerto Rico
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